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Inspire Day 3: 12 July 2017

Post 5: Day 3/Last day of Inspire 2017

Every morning at this point I'm finding it more difficult to get up. This week has been absolutely exhausting. Inspiring, eye-opening, business changing and definitely exhausting.

The last keynote address was off the beaten track which I found to be quite refreshing. The key note started with a speech poem on city living and the dynamic and continuous evolution of the identity of the individual and the city itself. Different, interesting and rather cool. Next was a series of videos and promotional content. The videos at WPC/Inspire are always great, in fact I still show one of the videos from WPC 2016 to my staff every now and then to inspire them a bit. This year's videos were no different with amazing visuals provided by Planet Earth 2.

The keynote then was kicked off by Microsoft's Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith. Brad highlighted very succinctly the challenges facing the digital world at the moment in terms of security and privacy and highlighted the need for us as a digital community to pull together. Brad's speech was very passionate and inspiring. What was very interesting however, was the language used regarding the role of the Global Digital Enterprise. I think we might be witnessing the birth of the Corporate Government/Empire, different and potentially as significant as traditional geographic governments. Gavriella Schuster, the VP of One Commercial Partner, then came on. She explained the motivation and mechanisms regarding the significant structural changes within Microsoft regarding the One Commercial Partner (OCP) motion. My understanding of OCP is worth breaking down in its own post which I'll write up next week. The keynote ended with a fireside chat regarding the geo-political challenges being faced by the world. An unexpected turn in terms of content for the conference but I found it to be very interesting and refreshing.

After walking through the oven that is the Washington late morning sun to get back to the conference center I felt an increased urgency to do more networking. Rey and I decided a divide and conquer approach would be more beneficial so we split up our networking efforts. He'd attend a few more sessions and I would then focus exclusively on networking. The exception to this was a session presented by the South African Partner Sales team on worldwide inside sales. The general consensus is that everyone views the changes happening within Microsoft as extremely positive. Bigger and incumbent Partners are definitely unsettled but tentatively positive and optimistic, whereas smaller Partners like Tangent see a major opportunity to align better with Partner Sales which has always been a struggle and a major frustration point. Rey and I both had very successful days and come the end of day at 17:00, both of us were exhausted.

Myself and the other Microsoft Regional Directors at Inspire were invited to a dinner hosted by Vishwas Lele, a 15 year Microsoft Regional Director. It was somewhat surreal sitting with these powerhouses of IT and listening to their achievements and how they've influenced Microsoft over the years. I felt really inspired and humbled to be associated with these giants. I'm definitely inspired to push myself harder and make more of an impact in the community. Vishwas and Mahesh Chand both gave me a lot of advice which I was really grateful.

The dinner carried on longer than expected so we only joined the closing Partner Celebration at 21:00. Carrie Underwood was in full swing by this point. I would like to say that I had a great time and partied it up but truth be told, Carrie really wasn't my dog, so myself and another RD, Mahesh Chand, went off to have drinks elsewhere. Mahesh is the founder of CSharp Corner, a 13 time MVP and started his tenure as a Regional Director with me a couple of months ago. Mahesh gave me a lot of advice throughout the evening over quite a few beers. Thanks Mahesh for the very enjoyable evening and I'm looking forward to working closely with you in the future.

While I do appreciate Carrie Underwood is major star in the United States I can't help but feel that choosing her as the entertainment choice was a mistake. European Partners I chatted to also felt the same way. I hope next year the Partner Team chooses entertainment that is more accessible for the global Partner community and not focused so exclusively on their American Partners.

Theoretically Inspire is now over. This morning there is an MEA general briefing session and I've got a couple more connect meetings and a dinner this evening to go to before I call it a day on Inspire and put my feet up.

I'll post my last post on Inspire 2017 early next week which will be summary of my experiences and activities at the conference as well as go over in more detail over the announcements that were made.

Dave Nel,
Managing Partner, Tangent Solutions
Microsoft Regional Director


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